Bass, ’togs providing anglers with record hauls
Over the past six days, local and distant sport fishing has gone into overdrive. In the nuclear power station Lake Anna, west of Fredericksburg, Va., a bass fishing-tournament organization known as Fishers for Men conducted its first contest of the year that would allow two contestants in each boat to enter only five bass. As the weigh-in was held at Sturgeon Creek Marina, the fivefish catch of Keith Estes, of Spring Grove, Va., and Donald Estes, of Henrico, Va., turned out to weigh 27.69 pounds, which included two largemouth bass that tipped the scales at more than 6 pounds. This winning catch turned out to be an all-time, fivebass lake record.
Now, along comes Tidewater fishing dentist, Dr. Ken Neill, whose saltwater exploits are known along the middle Atlantic coast. As he left a Virginia Beach marina last Sunday to go after tautogs that are found hiding in offshore wrecks, Neill eventually tied into something that seemed to weigh far more than the usual tautog that averages 3 to 6 pounds. A bragging-size ‘tog, as it’s frequently called, perhaps goes as high as 15 pounds. What Neill had on the end of his line was a potential state-record tautog. It weighed 24 pounds, 3 ounces and measured 32 inches long. When the application is approved by Virginia fishing officials, it will be the latest tautog state record — a veritable giant as far as the species is concerned.
Locally, boaters and shoreline anglers who seek their favorite quarry, the largemouth bass, are doing well in the Potomac River between the District and down-river portions in Charles County, Md., or Prince William County, Va. Although the first few days of the week were windy and many boaters chose to stay in safer waters, all the feeder creeks turned up excellent catches.
Be it the Pomonkey, Mattawoman, Chicamuxen, Occoquan, Powell, Quantico or Aquia, all will deliver the goods on a variety of crankbaits, rattle lures, soft plastics, occasionally even surface lures. In addition, Chinese snakeheads are moving about, and crappies are beginning to bunch up in anticipation of spawning season.
For fans of shad catch-and-release fishing, the Potomac at Fletcher’s Cove in Georgetown, the Susquehanna River above Havre de Grace, Md., (including Deer Creek), and Virginia’s Rappahannock River in the Fredericksburg sector provide fair to good chances of hooking hickory and American shad. Just be certain to let your catches go. They’re protected and cannot be kept. The Fletcher’s stretch of the Potomac also shows blue and channel catfish, as well as a few white perch and stripers. Boat rentals are available.
In the Chesapeake Bay, most everybody awaits the start of the striped bass trophy season that begins April 21 and runs through May 15. Private boaters and charter boat captains already are checking the waters, but they won’t get real serious until next month. Meanwhile, in the lowest parts of the Chesapeake, tautogs up to 6 pounds are hanging around the Chesapeake Bay BridgeTunnel tubes, the Concrete Ships on the eastern side of the Bay and all of the sunken wrecks. Don’t forget that the locals in the lower Bay have begun the black drum watch. Big black drum will be caught before you know it.
Fans of flounder fishing can make plans to visit Oyster, Quinby and Wachapreague waters on Virginia’s Eastern Shore. Some of the more skilled flounder hunters already have scored. There also are rumors that some of the Eastern Shore’s barrier island channels and deep ditches have delivered strikes from channel bass (redfish). It’s a bit early, but this has been a strange March.